Coach Waqar Younis on Saturday admitted skipper Misbahul Haq remains doubtful for the third one-day international against New Zealand after he hurt his hamstring. Misbah fell awkwardly while chasing a shot in the third over of New Zealand’s innings during the second day-night international in Sharjah. New Zealand won the match by four wickets to level the five-match series at 1-1. Pakistan won the first match by three wickets in Dubai on Monday.
All-rounder Shahid Afridi is one likely choice to lead the team in next match. Fast bowler Bilawal Bhatti was also ruled out of the third one-day after he injured his right hand during practice and needed stitches. Another fast bowler, Umar Gul, is also on the injury list after missing the second game due to a sore ankle. Junaid injured his knee during the one-day series against Australia in October and is still recovering.
Pakistan has been in United Arab Emirates since October. They played a Twenty20, three one-day internationals and two Tests against Australia before their two Tests, two Twenty20 and five one-day series against New Zealand. It’s a long tour and there are bound to be injuries, we need to solve these injury issues before the World Cup next year.
Waqar said he was still searching for a right bowling combination, badly affected by the suspension of ace spinner Saeed Ajmal and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez due to illegal bowling action. “We are trying to build the right combination for the World Cup and these issues have not allowed us to do so,” said Waqar, who blamed a below par total for the defeat on Friday.